After 20 years of service, The Fire Chief training structure in Yoder, Indiana is still going strong. The all-steel building is continuously used by the 500+ members of the Southwest Fire District plus firefighters from neighboring counties. In addition, Allen County and Fort Wayne Police employ the facility for both tactical training and bomb disposal training.
“The versatility of setting up different training scenarios is the best aspect of having The Fire Chief on site,” says Fire Training Instructor Jim Noll with the Southwest Fire District in Yoder, IN. “We seem to increase the uses for the structure every year. The return on investment for the Yoder community has been very solid. Up keep on the training facility is minimal in relation to the numbers of public safety personnel using it.”
Planning for 20 More Years
Installed in 2002, The Fire Chief celebrates two decades of service in Yoder this year. Manufactured by Fire Facilities, Inc. in Wisconsin, the structure stands 40-feet high and is 60-feet long.
The tower’s residential-like design offers a burn room on the first floor, interior stairs to the multiple floors, an interior fixed ladder, roof-mounted chop-out curbs, and parapet roof guard with chain opening. The Fire Chief allows for multiple training exercises including hose advancement, fire attack, search and rescue, rappelling, laddering, confined space, and high-angle rescue operations.
To enhance training on The Fire Chief, Noll is making some changes to the structure. “We just ordered a new double door system for the rear, along with a new front door with a forcible entry prop built in,” says Noll. “These new accessories will provide different training challenges for our team members. And, because it has been 20 years, we also plan to paint the exterior in 2023.
“The Fire Chief is a reliable and effective training tool for our firefighters. With the proper upkeep and care, I see no reason why we can’t use this structure for another 20 years!”
Established in 1986 by the Allen County Commissioners, the Southwest Fire District provides Fire-Rescue and EMS transport service to more than 82 square miles of Allen County along with portions of Wall County near the Town of Zanesville. Full time, part time, volunteer and live-in personnel work from four stations to handle the needs of area citizens and businesses.